The Queen has expressed a message of support following the continuing wildfires in Fort McMurray, Alberta.
A statement read: “Prince Philip and I were shocked and saddened by the news of the wildfires that are causing such devastation to Fort McMurray. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have been affected, and we send our heartfelt thanks to the firefighters and the other emergency workers.
A state of emergency was declared yesterday in the province of Alberta in canada. This forced all 88,000 residents of Fort McMurray to evacuate; many leaving their belongings behind, only taking what they could carry in their vehicles. Many losing everything in the blaze.
The fire began on Sunday in the heart of the oil sands region. The evacuation is the largest in Alberta’s history. And officials say the fire could destroy most of the city.
So far, the fire has gutted 1,600 buildings, including a brand new school. Oil companies in the area have been forced to halt work. Luckily, there haven’t been any reports of death or injury, but two women did give birth in an evacuation centre.
In recounting what they’ve witnessed, Fort McMurray resident Neil Scott told the BBC: “It was something you’d see in a movie probably. I was stuck between a concrete barrier and the fire and I thought ‘You know what? I might not make it out’.”
“There’s whole neighbourhoods that are gone. A hotel burned down, a gas station exploded. One lady that I met she actually was sheltered behind like an electrical box when it actually exploded and she felt a shockwave.”
Doug Sulliman, a former professional ice hockey player, told Associated Press: You could hear the pop, pop, pop because of the propane tanks. The fire was just consuming these houses. It just destroyed the whole community.”